By Michael Fryzel
As the credit union industry waits to see what direction the NCUA board will head now that the two new members have taken their oaths of office, I believe the recent swearing-in ceremonies of each provides a good insight on what to expect.
On the morning of April 8th, before a group of close friends and associates, Rodney Hood placed his hand on a Bible held by his minister and swore to faithfully discharge all the duties of his new position. The oath was administered by Mark McWatters, who relinquished the chairmanship of the agency to Hood. Earlier in the day President Trump designated Hood to be the 11thchairman of NCUA.
Following his swearing in, Chairman Hood walked confidently to the podium to speak. He thanked everyone in attendance and acknowledged those who preceded him as chairman expressing his appreciation for the shoulders they provided him to stand on as he assumed his leadership role.
Pledging a strong commitment to a safe and sound credit union system, Hood outlined what he hopes to accomplish. Included in his list of goals and objectives is enhancing and modernizing the credit union charter, addressing the issues of capital reform and cybersecurity, creating opportunities to serve vulnerable communities, reducing regulatory burdens, and providing his NCUA team with the necessary resources to respond quickly to today’s market risks and emerging issues.
This is an impressive list for moving forward from someone already familiar with serving on the board, who has worked with credit unions, and who has the educational and business background to deliver.
Harper Also Takes Oath
Todd Harper took his oath of office in the afternoon of the same day, also before a large group of friends and well-wishers as he became the first former NCUA staff person ever named to the board. In the crowd of people were Todd’s one-time boss and strong credit union advocate, former Congressman Paul Kanjorski, who was beaming as his protégé rose in the ranks. Former Congressman Ed Royce also was in attendance as were six former or current NCUA chairpersons.
The new board member, not a rookie at public speaking or knowledge of credit unions, also assumed a stance of great confidence at the podium. After thanking those close to him and his many friends and associates in attendance, Harper talked about government impressively quoting Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan and Daniel Webster. He highlighted his agenda of focusing on issues of capital, liquidity and cybersecurity along with prioritizing the agency’s consumer protection duties and access to affordable credit for the unbanked and underserved while pledging to maintain a strong insurance fund.
A formidable program from an NCUA veteran, congressional legislative director and Harvard University graduate.
Agenda is Laid Out
The agenda of each new board member has been laid out. In addition to accompany the ideas they have expressed, Hood and Harper bring new energy to NCUA and the desire to get things done. Along with Mark McWatters, the NCUA board has the ability and knowledge to provide credit unions with the tools they need to compete and thrive for decades into the future. They can also give the American people a system that will be inclusive and capable of providing all the financial services they could ever need.
The enthusiasm exists, the expectancy of results is promising and the potential for success is within reach.
Michael Fryzel is a former chairman and board member of NCUA, who is now in private practice in Chicago.